Perhaps you’re having electrical problems or maybe you just want to inform yourself on the proper maintenance/care of a car battery. In either case, anyone with a car will probably experience a dead battery at some point or another, so it is worth having the knowledge to handle such a situation when it does happen. In general, batteries can be expected to last approximately 42 months. This time frame is of course dependent on a number of factors: weather/climate, trip distances and the overall power of your car’s electrical system. Below is a guide to inspecting battery level and some tips to help extend your battery’s life.
How to Check the Wear Level on Your Battery/Maintenance
In order to do this yourself, to measure the level of charge in a car’s battery you will need to buy a voltmeter. Digital is preferable as you can read the numbers more accurately, but analog works too. Also, wear a pair of protective rubber gloves and goggles whenever servicing a battery as any interaction with battery acid could be seriously harmful.
- Check to ensure your vehicle is completely turned off.
- Connect red/positive voltmeter test lead to the battery’s positive terminal.
- Similarly, connect black/negative voltmeter test lead to the battery’s negative terminal.
- Take note of the numbers indicated:
- If your voltmeter reads 12.4+–12.6+ of voltage your battery’s state of charge is between 75% and 100%, which means your battery is functioning well enough to fulfill the needs of your car.
- If it reads 11.8+–12.2+ your battery’s state of charge is between 0% and 50%, which indicates a poorly functioning battery and that you should get it replaced.
- Remove the negative terminal first, always. Depending on the terminals difficulty to pull off you may need a battery terminal puller. Never use a screwdriver or anything to pry the terminals off as this can break the internal connections of the battery post.
- Use some sort of high quality battery cleaning solution with your battery terminal cleaning tool to clean the terminals and posts.
Simple Steps to Extend the Life of Your Battery
- Avoid shorter trips. Your engine/alternator needs time to recharge the electricity lost upon each start of the vehicle. If the car is not given sufficient time to rebuild that charge the battery will continue to drop in charge until the car will fail to start completely.
- Secure your battery. Buy an approved battery clamp and adjust it until the battery is firmly in place, but be careful not to overtighten the piece as this can damage it.
- Turn off all lights. When you have finished driving turn off all headlights and interior lights as they drain the battery even when the engine is not on.
- Reduce heat exposure. Hot weather wears batteries out very quickly, so you should park in shade or in a garage if possible on a hot day.
- Keep battery clean. Check to make sure your battery is dry and free of dirt and grime, which can make the battery discharge, creating a short circuit which over time will kill the battery.
- Drive at least once a week. Car batteries want to be at 100% charge at all times. Batteries have a natural “self-discharge,” meaning the cars lose charge even when inactive, so make sure the car is driven at least once a week to ensure the battery is recharged.
Car Batteries & Beyond
At some point or another your car’s battery will die. However, after reviewing the information above you have the knowledge to service a car’s battery and even know how to extend the life of a car’s battery.
At Suburban Auto Parts, you can find a battery that will fit a variety of makes and models right here on our online store. When it’s time to make a replacement, only the OEM batteries we sell here will do the job.